Category Archives:Africa and Middle East

Dubai’s Best Shopping: Shop Until You Drop

Dubai is known for being the ultimate destination for shopaholics (and trust me, that’s no exaggeration!). There is nothing you won’t find while shopping in this luxurious city.

The Emirate is home to numerous shopping malls that are larger than life, as well as a number of Souks manned by small, local shop owners. If you’re looking for Dubai’s best shopping, here are our top four:

Dragon Mart

Dragon Mart is the largest trading spot for Chinese products outside of mainland China, providing a gateway for the supply of Chinese products in the Middle Eastern and North African markets.

If you’re wondering what is so special about Dragon Mart, you’ll be surprised to find out that it is 1.2 kilometres long and 150 000 square metres. Built in the shape of a dragon it houses more than 39,550 outlets selling everything from shoes to clothing, home appliances to stationary, toys to furniture, and so much more.

This shopping mecca is so popular that approximately 52,000 people make their way through the massive site every day, and approximately 90 million people visit each year.

motiongate™ DUBAI

motion gate dubai

This movie themed theme park in Dubai offers the best-in-branded entertainment from three of the largest and most successful motion picture studios in Hollywood – DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Studios, and Lionsgate – and is home to a number of exciting shops where people can buy everything from delicious sweets to souvenirs from their favourite movie.

Head to the Shrek Shack to find every Shrek-themed goody under the sun, visit Smurfs Studios Store to visit Papa Smurf and the rest of the Smurfs family and take a Smurfy souvenir home, or make a stop at Panem Supply Co. where you can stock up on all things The Hunger Games.

There are also a number of other shops where visitors can purchase hats, sunglasses, and a number of other props from different Hollywood films.

The Many Souks

spice souk dubai

Dubai is home to numerous Souks (or traditional markets) where shoppers can get their fill of spices, gold, textiles, and more, at very reasonable prices – if you have good haggling skills that is.

The Gold Souk – which is arguably the best known of all the city’s souks – is a must-see for visitors who love this sparkling metal. Whether looking for a shiny trinket or a statement piece, visitors are spoiled for options.

Dubai’s Perfume Souk is the place to go for shoppers who love perfume. It is not far away from the Gold Souk, and includes a number of deliciously smelly delights, some of which include pure perfumes and essential oils, for example.

Tingle your taste buds by stopping by the Spice Souk. This Souk will provide you with insights into Arabic trading and cooking, with hundreds of spices packages in sacks waiting to be taken home (just check the customs rules in your country first!).

The Dubai Mall

dubai's best shopping

Located in the heart of Downtown Dubai, the Dubai Mall should be the first stop on all shopaholics lists, as it is the largest and most visited retail, leisure and entertainment destination in the world.

Housing a whopping 1,200 stores – some of which include some of the biggest brands, clothing, accessories, houseware, electronics, and so much more – it is unlike any other shopping mall you will ever visit.

Additionally, the mall is home to the world-class Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, KidZania (for those parents who would like to shop and know their kids are safe), SEGO Republic, a 22-screen Reel Cinemas megaplex, and more.

These are just four of many places you can visit and shop in Dubai, it is no wonder that the city is a shopper’s paradise.

But remember, wherever you travel to in the world, some of the best shopping experiences are found by exploring the city on your own 🙂

Exciting Attractions for Kids in Dubai

Entertaining the kids on holiday is a hard feat, especially if you are visiting a place that is too grown up for the little ones. Travellers looking to visit Dubai for their yearly vacation, however, will not have to worry about that, as the city is home to a number of fun and exciting attractions specifically for the smaller members of the family.  So don’t discount Dubai as the perfect family-orientated holiday destination!

If you’re interested in visiting the UAE this year with your family, here are some ideas of where you can take your kids in Dubai:

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Opening later this year – in October – Dubai Parks and Resorts is an amazing resort that includes five different theme parks – motiongate™ DUBAI, Bollywood PARKS™ DUBAI, LEGOLAND® DUBAI, LEGOLAND® WATER PARK, and RIVERLAND™ DUBAI. Each of these has a number of attractions, shows and thrill rides that are suitable for the whole family.

motiongate™ DUBAI is a theme park which is home to an array of rides based on a number of popular movies (including The Hunger Games, Shrek, and The Smurfs).

Bollywood PARKS™ DUBAI includes five different zones that offer different environments inspired by Bollywood blockbusters,

Meanwhile, LEGOLAND® DUBAI and LEGOLAND® WATER PARK are based around everything LEGO® and offer the perfect theme park in Dubai environment for families with kids aged between 2 and 12.

Finally, RIVERLAND™ DUBAI provides visitors with a place they can enjoy good food and theatres in four different eras from our past.

Ski Dubai

ski dubai

Located in the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the Middle East’s first indoor ski centre. Suitable for newbies and pros, children and adults, this amazing ski centre offers a safe setting where visitors can enjoy a variety of activities. Try skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, tube slides, slopes and jumps, or simply playing in the snow together.

There are five exhilarating fun runs for skiers and snowboarders, as well as a chairlift that will take visitors to the top with ease. Kids can have their first skiing lesson at the centre’s ski school by a qualified instructor, or they can visit the resident King Penguins and colony of Gentoo.

Once the fun is over, families can head to one of the centre’s themed restaurants – Avalanche Café and St Moritz Café – where they can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and a snack to fill their bellies.

Once the fun is over, families can head to one of the centre’s themed restaurants – Avalanche Café and St Moritz Café – where they can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and a snack to fill their bellies.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

dubai for kids

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo can be found at The Dubai Mall, and is a place that has everything to keep the entire family entertained and happy during their visit. It’s not just about shopping!

The 10-million litre tank is the largest suspended aquarium in the world and houses thousands of animals. There are 140 different species, 300 sharks and rays, as well as the largest collection of Sand Tiger sharks in the world.

There are a number of watery experiences including an underwater zoo, presentations and a chance for the kids to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at the Dubai Aquarium. At the Underwater Zoo they can watch a shark feeding, ride on the aquarium’s glass-bottom boat, meet an Aquarist, and so much more – this is a day out the kids will never forget.

Make some amazing memories during your visit to Dubai, visit one or all of the above-mentioned attractions the whole family can enjoy!

Egypt, more than just Pyramids

Egypt is a fantastic and very popular holiday destination. Mainly down to the welcoming Egyptians, good weather and historic ruins. I thought in this post, I would avoid the subjects such as the Pyramids of Giza, and the Valley of the kings and talk about some stuff you might not have heard about in Egypt.

Siwa, known for its historical acceptance of homosexuality (There have been reports of gay marriage, even in the Egyptian times.) The lack of tourism, I assume, is all down to one reason. Transport. It’s a 9 hour bus ride from Alexandria, buses also leave from Cairo, you’ll be travelling overnight. Egypt air will fly you there from either from Cairo or Alexandria. If you wanted to go here, I think the best idea would be to come straight from London, a few airlines will go to the airport, but only in the summer. You will see some of the most beautiful landscapes in Egypt. Fatnas Island is 6km away from Siwa and is a good place to see some of that beauty; it has been nicknamed “Fantasy Island.” It can be found by crossing a causeway (Which you can do on a donkey ride!) While there you’ll get to walk along palm beaches, and bathe in springs which have been said to be better than the more famous Cleopatra springs. The Shali Fortress gives the city more historical interest; it was built for protection from hostile tribes. It is made up of many mud and salt houses that got destroyed by rain in 1926. It might surprise you to find a few of them are still being used today, mainly at the foot of Shali.

siwa egypt
Siwa, the Old Town

Aswan is the smallest of the three main cities by the Nile, and mainly people visit to see Abu Simel (which I’m going to skip as I want to write about the lesser known about attractions.) Getting to Aswan is reasonably simple, a three hour train ride from Luxor or boat, again from Luxor will take you there. Another method of transport would be a cruise along the more tranquil part of the River Nile. Aswan has some historic sites, such as the unfinished obelisk. If it had been completed, it would have measured 42m and weighed 1,200 tons. Very close to the obelisk is the Fatimid Cemetery. This impressive site is free to go and see, the tombs with flags on them belonged to saints. The sound and light show at Philae Temple is something to do with your evening, it will tell you the story of Osiris, the Lord of dead and his wife, Isis, who resurrected him.

egypt travel guide

Taba Heights located in the North East of the country is a fantastic picturesque place to visit in Egypt, more relaxing than any of the destinations with historical ruins. You’ll get some truly spectacular views from here; you’ll be able to see over to Israel from its 5km of beaches. You could even cross 2 wonders of the world off your list, and see the Pyramids of Giza as well as Petra at Jordan. Every Friday here there is a street festival with free live entertainment for you to enjoy. Taba Heights is also big on water sports; diving, sailing and windsurfing are all available through The Red Sea Water World.

egypt travel guide

To discover more of what Egypt has to offer visit Directline Holidays latest deals.

– Emma Buttery